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How to Use a Neti Pot

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Updated August 06, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

A neti pot is a device that can be used to help irrigate the sinuses when you have congestion or pressure from a cold or allergies. They can be made of ceramic, plastic or stainless steel and enable you to pour a saline solution into your sinuses to help rinse out the excess mucous.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 5-10 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Mix your saline solution - 1/4 tsp salt into 1/2 cup of boiled and cooled to room temperature or distilled water. You can also buy pre-made saline solutions at pharmacies and grocery stores.
  2. Tilt your head to the side over the sink or in the shower.
  3. Place the spout of the neti pot into the nostril that is "up" when your head is tilted to the side.
  4. Pour the saline solution into the nostril so that it rinses through your sinuses and runs out the lower nostril.
  5. Tilt your head to the other side and repeat steps three and four in the other nostril.
  6. Blow your nose to release and expel any remaining mucous and saline.

Tips:

  1. Neti pots can be a very effective way to clear out extra mucous from your sinuses when it is causing pressure and discomfort. Saline sprays may be used to irrigate the sinuses as well.
  2. While the use of a neti pot is generally considered safe and effective, if you have a compromised immune system or chronic medical problems that involve the head and sinuses, be sure to check with your health care provider before using a neti pot.
  3. It is important to clean your neti pot frequently and do not share it with others. They can harbor bacteria if they are not cleaned adequately.
  4. Although some people use neti pots daily, this practice is not generally recommended. Chronic, long term use could damage the lining of the nose and eventually lead to more sinus problems.

What You Need

  • Neti Pot - can be found at many drugstores for under $20
  • Saline solution - store bought or make your own
  • Towel or tissues
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